How To Avoid Giving a “Michael Scott” Wedding Toast.
Ahhhhh…the notorious wedding speech. In many cases it can follow the same pattern as a stagette…full of good intentions but in the end? ….rough for all. I will state with confidence that one advantage of being a bridesmaid 3 times (yes 3, and be quiet about it!) is that I am more than familiar with the fine art of speech writing. Last year at the wedding of one of my best friends, I was responsible for one of THE best speeches ever. I don’t mean to blow my own horn about it, but it is what it is. I heard about it all night, it it went over so well. I actually started to feel bad for the best man and MOH. It does sound mean but lets be real ~ speeches are not for everyone and putting together a great one can be tricky at best. However, I truly believe that if you keep a few simple things in mind, even the ill timed and humour-lacking can prepare a speech that will not be a flop.
One of the most important things to consider when you are thinking about writing your speech is be yourself! The words are being delivered by you and should reflect your personality and who you are. Avoid using words not normally found in your vocabulary and do what you can to have people relate to you. Deathly afraid of speaking in front of large groups? Most of us are, so why not share that? Nobody expects a flawless performance and chances are they admire the fact you made it to the front! But let us not get ahead of ourselves…..
For a speech to be great it needs to be entertaining. Mix it up with kindness, honesty and yes, humour! Even a little roast for the bride is welcomed and will keep the crowd on their toes and in anticipation for where things are going. In the outset of my speech, I introduced myself and said I was extremely honoured to be a bridesmaid…..sounds sweet doesn’t it? “When Jenn asked me to be one of her bridesmaids I immediately said yes. I was honoured that she would want me to be right up there with her on such an important day…..but of course that was after confirming that I would not be wearing a strapless dress. Rob…I suspect right off the bad that you guys may have some issues with honesty… do you see what I am wearing right now?”
Yes, we know that this day is all about the bride, but take this opportunity to shine! Feel free to stray from what is expected….traditionally it is your responsibility to compliment the bridal party or groomsmen, but it is not necessary….in fact I have a tendency to avoid it all together. We all know that everyone cleans up real nice when they have their hair and makeup done….BUT! In the off chance they don’t look particularly impressive, everyone will know you’re lying and there goes your credibility! That said, if you feel so inclined to ignore my recommendations, try to avoid the generic “I would like to toast …..you all look beautiful.” Boring, predictable and in many cases robotic. Use a thesaurus…find a different word and make the best attempt to mean what you say.
Be Composed! (or at least try to be!)
Speech, toast, roast, whatever you want to call it, make sure you are comfortable with the material because your audience will pick up on it. Maybe some of you would have the tendency to consult with Jose or Captain Morgan prior to speech time but I don’t recommend it. Not only are slurred speeches frowned upon, but you don’t want to risk ending up in tears (this coming from a woman who can’t shop for a Fathers Day card without breaking down). A few naturally emerging cheek rollers are fine of course as it shows (despite what you have made light of) that you have feelings and are moved by the significance of the day. That said, even when the speech is over, you are still on “display” so try to keep your martinis or mojitos to a minimum…. even Lionel knows that pictures are taken all… night…..long.
Make sure you give this speech the thought and attention it requires and definitely practice your delivery. No matter what it will be remembered for better or worse. And most important? Despite the pressure and enormity of this task, try to enjoy it! Have fun with this moment as it is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Um ya, unless you’re now going onto number 4……